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Every single Bitcoin product banned in UK as regulators crack down on crypto

By Mirror | October 11th 2020 at 13:00:23 GMT +0300

Hard to value, harder to understand the risks (Image: LightRocket via Getty Images)

Every firm operating in or out of the UK has just been banned from selling products based on Bitcoin's price to consumers.

That's after City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced new rules in an effort to stop honest Brits being ripped off by those taking advantage of how few people understand this new breed of "cryptocurrencies".

The FCA's Sheldon Mills said: "This ban reflects how seriously we view the potential harm to retail consumers in these products. Consumer protection is paramount here.

"Significant price volatility, combined with the inherent difficulties of valuing cryptoassets reliably, places retail consumers at a high risk of suffering losses from trading crypto-derivatives.

"We have evidence of this happening on a significant scale. The ban provides an appropriate level of protection."

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As an asset - albeit a digital one - the FCA can't stop people buying Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies directly.

However, it absolutely CAN ban people selling products based on their prices that are regulated by firms acting in, or from, the UK.

As such it's stopping the sale of derivatives and exchange traded notes (ETNs) referencing certain types of cryptoassets.

Broadly speaking - that's any product sold to the public that lets you make or lose money based on a cryptocurrency's current or future price.

The ban will come into effect on 6 January 2021.

It also means, after that date, you can be pretty sure anyone offering you that sort of product is a scammer.

"As the sale of derivatives and ETNs that reference certain types of cryptoassets to retail consumers is now banned, any firm offering these services to retail consumers is likely to be a scam," the FCA said.

The FCA brought the ban in as it said these products are "ill-suited to retail consumers" as it's not possible to reliably work out their value or the risks they involve.

More specifically there were problems thanks to the: inherent nature of the underlying assets, which means they have no reliable basis for valuation, prevalence of market abuse and financial crime in the secondary market (eg cyber theft), extreme volatility in cryptoasset price movements, inadequate understanding of cryptoassets by retail consumers and lack of legitimate investment need for retail consumers to invest in these products  

Put together the FCA said that meant consumers could "suffer harm from sudden and unexpected losses if they invest in these products".

"The FCA estimates that retail consumers will save around £53m from the ban on these products," the FCA said.

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